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  CSPAN    Capitol Hill Hearings    News/Business.  

    May 16, 2013
    6:00 - 7:00am EDT  

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it's an ongoing investigation. >> but the time is expired. -- >> the time has expired. we recognize the gentleman from florida. >> thank you for being here. thank you for your time today. thank you for your long and distinguished career. my first question, i know you answer some of this, made a less hostile environment will give you a chance to dazzle with your intelligence. ae majority here know mr. -- few weeks ago, we ascended ourselves and began a confirmation hearing for mr. perez. a duty and responsibility that was beyond the purview of my office. nonetheless,we participated. i would like to hear from you as someone who was worked with mr. perez in his capacity in your office, you could tell us about him and your view on him as labor secretary.
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>> he is uniquely qualified for this job, given his experience in maryland, in a similar position, given the way he has distinguished himself over a long and storied public service career. certainly with regard to the way he has conducted himself as assistant attorney general. he is a person who has the ability to see both sides of an issue. he is not a deal law but crashes on ideologue -- he is not an ideologue. he has been portrayed. a loyalgood lawyer and public servants andhe will distinguish himself if he is given the opportunity to labor. >> thank you. i want to ask two more questions. one is on immigration. thank you for addressing a conference of immigration reform in your comments. i have noticed that the rules
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that we have created have bound us in certain circumstances, and is limited the discretion of our judges, which are overworked, but sometimes do not have the legal ability, or the resolve many cases which seem to simple. onwe could get your opinion judges.g some of that >> i agree with you. i served for five years as a judge. in washington, d.c.we put a great deal of effort into finding people to serve on our courts. in our immigration courts andi think that they should have requisite amounts of discretion so that they can decide what justice is in a particular case prayed what justice for the -- justice and it take your case. is constrai by rules and
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regulations and by law butwithin that range, judges should have discretion. immigration judges should have a greater degree of discretion than they have presently. we do a good job of selecting who these people are pre-we should trust in their ability to use their discretion appropriately. >> let's stay on metro quick. -- let's stay on that real quick,then i will close with this. i want to ask you about the cuts of sequestration, and the impact that has had. an effective 50 million dollars -- $15 million of immigration review. can you tell us about what impact that has had on an overburdened caseloads question mark has that led to prolonged detention, which adds a further burden to taxpayers question mark >> we have numbers here. there is, serious problems with regard to the whole question of sequestration.
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upigration docket has gone every year. the resources that we need to deal with that rise has to be dealt with. sequestration runs in the opposite direction, where we actually taking resources away from a growing problem. if you look at the immigration bill, there is contained within it a provision for an enhanced number of immigration judges. for 2014dent's budget asks for more immigration judges to handle the problem of the growing dockets. sequestration is something that is more than simply people getting on an airplane and getting to their destination in time. sequestration has negative impacts of a whole variety of areas that are my responsibility in the immigration, with regard to atf,
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fbi, agents having the ability to be on the streets and do things the american people expect. we have had problems in 2013. this storm has fewer people than it did in 2011. -- this department has far fewer people than it did in 2011 when we put in a freeze. this is going to have an impact. you will see in two years from now lower numbers of the justice department. some attorney general will be criticized for that. it will be a function, not of lack of desire and dedication of a party people of this just are, -- on the part of the people in the justice department but because there are fewer of them. >> thank you pre-ipo i yield back the balance of my time. >> the gentleman from pennsylvania. >> is good to see you again. let's focus for a moment on the boston terrorists.
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while he was in the hospital, if you please. why were charges filed at that particular time instead of waiting for -- running the time or on the public exception of miranda? filed. charges had to be filed in the hospital. a public defender was brought there. why at that time? who made the decision to file charges? >> lemay just talk about that case again. charges, there are rules that we have. the supreme court has said that you have 48 hours to bring charges. what we did there was to do things that are consistent with the rules, while at the same time using the public safety
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exception in the best way we could. >> don't get into anything that would jeopardize this prosecution. there was time. you could still have used the public deception rule to allow the fbi to interrogate this individual before miranda. do you agree with that? >> yes, the justice department and fbi agents -- >> they did not have to because of the exception but it seems there was a rush to file the charges that would then force the magistrate to inform the defendant of his rise. why did you not let that time run loggers of the fbi could question him? >> the charges were filed from about 46of capture,
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hours after that. >> bad as a benchmark, correct? i have read a case where it has been days were the exception has continued. was that discussed with director mueller? did he know prior to that the charges were going to be filed? >> we worked with the fbi in washington and boston. everybody was aware and the state local folks. >> why warrant state charges filed? then you would have more time to question an individual before you filed several charges? both the federal and state prosecutors could be used to their advantage? >> after the bombing, the decision was made, correctly so, the joint terrorism task force got together and made a
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decision that this was going to be a federal investigation and federal rules would apply. >> let's switch gears to your accusal in this situation. i got into an argument with the justice department on cases were i not only recused myself but i want my entire office recuse. your in a different predicament here. withays followed it up written documentation, a letter saying why i am accusing my office and myself and making sure there is a paper trail filed in my office and the justice department. are you saying there is no paper trail here? when you recused yourself and for what reason? >> i don't think there is. that is something we were looking for and nothing has been found. that actually might be a better policy. >> i would think so to have that vote -- those documents in place. you also have the authority to appoint special prosecutors
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whether it is a sitting u.s. attorney or someone outside justice completely. you had the deputy who gave the approval but yet, is heading the investigation. isn't there a conflict of interest there? did -- that somebody other than the deputy to handle this? >> yes, as far as the investigation. >> i made the determination and was criticized at the time for making the determination that the prosecutors at the u.s. attorneys in maryland and the district of columbia could handle these cases in a fair and appropriate way. >> i will be the last guy to criticize you about a u.s. attorney handling the case no matter where they are. being one, not the caliber of people that work at justice. be that as of may, my time has expired. >> we recognize the gentleman from new york for five minutes.
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>> thank you. mr. attorney general, thank you for the testimony here today and for your great service to this country. let me note for the record my concern as it relates to the ap matter. the subpoenas or that were issued appear to be overly broad in scope and hopefully that is something the investigation that takes place will examine with close scrutiny and second of that i think, as many of my colleagues have expressed, i am troubled that the negotiation or consultation with the ap did not occur in advance of the decision to issue the subpoena. public, that will be covered. you mentioned earlier today in your testimony that racial an escape -- ethnic profiling is not good law enforcement. in new york city, we are grappling with a very aggressive stop and frisk program being administered by the nypd where many of us are concerned that african-americans
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and latinos are being racially profiled in the context of the stop and frisk encounters. more than 3now, million stop, question, and frisket counters have occurred in the city of new york over the last decade. thoseimately 90% of individuals, more than 3 million encounters, are black and latino citizens of the city of new york. are you familiar with that? >> yes. >> i think you're also familiar that according to the nypd's own statistics, approximately 90% of the individuals who possibly had their fourth amendment rights violated because they were stopped, questioned, and frist without any basis to conclude they presented a danger to anyone else, approximately 90% of these individuals did nothing
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wrong. according to the nypd statistics, no gun, no drugs, no weapon, no contraband, no basis for the arrest or the encounter whatsoever. are you familiar with that? >> i have read that. nypd bus owne statistics. you participated in a meeting and i was not involved last year on january 7 with members of the congressional black caucus from new york city as well as elected officials from many of the communities that were impacted and we're thankful you granted that meeting. at that meeting, there is a request made from the justice department to look into what we believe is systematic racial profiling and violations of the fourth amendment that have taken place in new york city as a result of the aggressive stop and frisk program. almost a year has passed since that meeting took place. ustice department to looksion
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into the matter? >> we have not reached any final determinations. this is something bad is under review at the justice department. i hope that we will be able to move this along. there is a civil suit from which a lot of information is coming out. it is something that we were prepared to look at and something that we are in fact examining. >> as we approach the one-year anniversary of that meeting, i would hope we can come to an expedited conclusion but i appreciate the care with which you have toward this matter. i want to turn briefly to the irs issues. in 2004, george bush was president? >> yes. >> he was in the midst of a competitive reelection? >> yes. >> in 2004, it was revealed that the irs went after the naacp for
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alleged political activity in violation of its status as a not-for-profit organization. are you familiar with that? >> i remember that. >> it was subsequently uncovered they did nothing wrong but it was also determined as the result of a four-year request by the naacp, that seven members of the united states congress on the other side of the aisle have written letters to the irs requesting that the irs to investigate the naacp. are you will aware of that? but i don't remember that. >> was a criminal investigation ever laughed with the alleged political interference that took place leading to an unsubstantiated investigation of the naacp? i know you were not bad justice at the time. >> i don't believe so. >> i am thankful you have taken the step to launch an investigation into similar allegations of alleged political interference albeit not by members of congress and we look
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forward to the results of that inquiry. >> thank-you. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from south carolina. , the chairman of the immigration and border committee. >> do you think it is reasonable to evaluate how effectively prosecutors and law enforcement are using current firearms statutes as we debate whether or not we need additional firearm statutes? >> that should be a factor but i think we are using blogs effectively. >> i would have to take your word for it for this reason -- i read you six months ago and asked for statistics specifically on two code g which deal2d & with the transfer of firearms by those who have been adjudicated mentally defective. i wrote that letter in december. i might nothat
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garner any attention and i got i senator cosign the letter. we have not heard back yet. relevantd that it is how effectively those code actions are being prosecuted as we evaluate whether we need additional tools? >> i think we should take into account what we are doing in terms of weapons prosecutions. 1/7 of all the cases we bring our gun cases. >> what percentage of current background checks failures are prosecuted? >> a much smaller number. there were 83,000 background check failures in fiscal year 2012. -- a were 85,000 cases much smaller number of those failures were brought. the purpose of the background check system is to prevent people from acquiring guns, 1.5
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million have been stopped since the beginning of the system, as opposed to the prosecution. >> i understand that, mr. attorney-general and i also understand something about a lack of jury appeal. i know certain cases don't have tremendous jury appeal but when you are advocating for increased background checks, it can be argued that you are not a good steward of the current background check laws that you have it i think it undercuts the argument. reasonable minds can differ on that, as opposed it i don't think reasonable minds can differ on 922 g &d. if you want to search for a theme from mass killings, i think you'll find that. i want to read you a quote attributed to you. if it is inaccurate, i want to give you a chance to tell me it is inaccurate. "creating a pathway to earn
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citizehi the 11 million authorized immigrants in this country is essential. this is a matter of civil and human rights." is that an accurate quote? >> i think that is a speech i gave at the anti-defamation league. >> you would agree with me that persons who cannot pass background checks should have the civil-rights, as you call it, of citizenship? >> as i use that phrase, i did not use it in district illegal cents. >> with all due respect, that is the problem with using the phrase. you are a highly trained lawyer. you know what the phrase "civil right"mains and when you say you have a civil right to citizenship when you have broken laws to come to the country, that comment has consequences and surely, you have to know that. >> with all due respect, it was my speech.
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those were the words i chose and i did not mean to convey and i did not think it would be taken that way. some have said that but many have not. ame think it meant there was legal right. it was in the context of that phrase where i said "civil and human rights." >> you can understand how it is problematic for those of us frankly who are working on immigration reform that don't come from districts where it is a popular political idea to have the attorney general say that you have a civil and human right to citizenship even though you are in the country in violation of our loss. that is a non sequitur and it is hard for some of us to explain that. i don't know what you meant, i just know what you said to them what i meant was that you have a 11 million undocumented people here >> who are, contributing to this country insubstantial ways but oftentimes are exploited
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because they are in that undocumented status. >> my point is that all 11 million are not valedictorians which is what every bill has a background check provision. all 11 million don't want citizenship. to call it a human and civil rights, speaking for a broad group of 11 million, it is just not helpful to those trying to be part of the conversation. >> i did not mean to say that all 11 million either one citizenship or will ultimately, as the bills have been crafted, will pass the necessary background checks. i am talking about the universe of people we do have who are generally accepted as 11 million and from that 11 million, and i suspect it will be a large portion of that, will pass background checks, will desire to become citizens, and will be entitled to the human rights
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that all americans have. , after the gutter that. that allows them to acquire citizenship along the pathway. >> the chair thanks the gentleman and now recognizes the gentleman from idaho. , mr. labrador. >> one of your favorite phrases during this hearing and in many other hearings where i have heard you is "ongoing criminal investigations." you have also talked about best practices and proprieties. when you decided to recuse yourself, did you look at best practices? you admitted already it would have been a better practice for you to put it in writing. there's already a statute that requires to put in writing their reasons for refusal in certain circumstances >> i have read a couple of times and i don't know if it applies to your situation.
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the new package would have been the best practice for you to just put it in writing especially when you're talking about an issue of such significance? >> i have thought about it even during the course of this past couple of hours that i think i will go back and actually think about whether there is some kind of policy i should put in place, examine how often it is happened -- refusals have happened in writing as opposed to orally and i think the better practice would probably be in writing about i think you should look at the statute. >> you should look at whether that applies to you or whether there is any other law that would have required new -- >> are two things i have on my to do less to. >> we already discussed the targeting by the irs, admitting they targeted conservative groups. police state today under oath that the department of justice, under your watch, has not targeted conservative groups for
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prosecution for political reasons or to gain political advantage? >> not to my knowledge, i have no knowledge of that. >> do you know if the irs in tax information related to mitt romney during the republican presidential primary and campaign? >> i don't know. >> will you attempt to find out? in your investigation? >> i'm not sure i have a predicate for that. i don't just remember that that >> wrote several claims during the campaign that there was personal information from that run the's tax records that were being leaked to the press and at what is to know if the irs was involved wilson that some of mitt romney's top donors were targeted by the irs and the labor department included a gentleman from idaho. if you could look at that as well. why were people who were giving money, after they became public
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about how much money that had donated, all of a sudden, the ira's and labor department was looking at them? i have an important question. we have heard about numerous groups that were targeted that were conservative groups. can you tell me whether obama for america, organizing for america, occupy wall street, or any of the progress of group has been targeted in the last three- four years by the irs? >> we are at the beginning of the investigation so i don't know what groups were targeted. all i know is what i have read about in the press. we are at the beginning stages of this investigation. >> you find out if it was only conservative groups? i think it is important and strange that it is only one political group about the other kind of political group. can you find out for our committee? >> the investigation would be designed to find out which groups were looked at and make
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sure that if they were looked at it was done on an appropriate basis. if it was inappropriate, then hold people accountable and that would be done regardless of whether they are conservative or liberal, republican or democratic. >> if you find out they were on the conservative, can you find out why? i'm going to read to you a quote that you stated that badger contempt of congress from last year. in february of this year you said, "for me to be affected by what happened, i have to have respect for the people who voted in that way and i didn't so did not have that huge impact on me." don't you think that huge "shows contempt for the republican members of congress that are here that voted for this? there were some democratic members of congress who also voted for contempt. >> the process that we went
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through, that you all winter, making that contents determination seemed inconsistent with both prior practice and inconsistent or not taking into account the good attempts were making to try to share the information that was sought. i also thou telling that when the nra decided to score that vote, what was the involvement of the nra in that vote at all? it seems to me then that this was something that was not about me, and it was about me, but it was about things beyond the exchange of documents. it was an attempt by certain people to get at this attorney- general and that's why i said, with regard to that process, i simply don't have respect for it. >> you said you did have respect for the people voted and i think that's in contempt may have led to people in this administration thinking they
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could go after conservatives and conservative groups. i yield back. >> i am not the cause of people in the irs doing things that may have been illegal. >> not accusing you of that i'm saying that mbe that same statement emboldened people to think they could go after other conservative groups. thank you very much. >> wheeled to the gentleman from michigan. i ask unanimous consent to insert into our records the statement of the lawyers committee for civil rights under law. -- withoutection, objection, it will be made part of the record. >> thank you. >> the chair would ask unanimous consent that a letter sent to attorney general holder on november 13, 2012, pertinent to the investigation of the matter involving former petraeus, signr
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chairman containing 15 questions which, to our knowledge, have never been answered and we would ask the attorney general to again after them but we will put those as part of the record and resubmit them to you. general holder they were pertinent to this hearind i think those questions would be interested to the committee. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from texas. consent request? i was happy to wait to the end of the session. >> if you want to do it now, weekend. i will yield. >> the chair recognize the gentleman from texas for five minutes. >> thank you and i am batting cleanup here and i would like to express my appreciation to mr.
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holder for sticking with us. please keep your answers as short as possible. i think we have covered a lot about the ira's and your investigation. i think the judge did a really good job. i am appalled by what happened and i am paul -- i was appalled when the nixon administration did it and i'm concerned that it is done now. on the d.o.j. website, you say the department has demonstrated to transparency, and upon taking office, president obama directed the d.o.j. with a clear presumption in the face of doubt, openness prevailed. and on march 19, you said you called for greater government trance pearns a in a new era of open government, yet we had to result to contempt of congress. you, i think, called chairman issa shameless. i'd like to offer you the opportunity to give us the stuff we're asking for and be
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consistent with that transparency. would you please just do it and make it easier for all of us? >> we have been in good faith negotiations. we went through mediations that the house republicans, as i remember, did not want to do. we have tried to find ways in which we could share the requested information -- >> we need the information, and we want to protect it, but die have a lot of questions. i'm going to go on. let's move on to the justice department's action with respect to the associated press. duppinge the massive intrusion caused a chilling effect on whistle blowers and confidential sources, and what do you think of today's "new york times" editorial that says that these tactics will not scare us or the a.p., but they could reveal sources and frighten confidential contacts vital to the coverage of government? >> again, i'll answer quickly, but separate and apart from the ongoing investigation. the justice department does not want to have its actions shield
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sources, have a negative impact on the news-gathering abilities of newspapers, television stations -- >> you're with me. it offends you as an american that we're targeting the media in such a broad fashion, would that be a fair statement? >> well, i'm not going to comment on an investigation that i'm -- >> ok, in a hypothetical situation, we're going to go after and subpoena hundreds of phone line records for journalists. i mean, does that offend you as an american? >> it would depend on the facts. you'd have to know what the facts were and why the actions -- >> so you stated earlier that you recused yourself from this because you were requested about this investigation, so as part of that investigation, are you aware of any of your telephones were tapped or telephone records were subpoenaed? i mean, you were subject to that investigation as well. >> there were, yes, some of semitelephone records were examined. >> ok, and other administrations as well. so you did go -- i guess my
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question is, it seems to me the media ought to be the last resort. if they subpoena, you voluntarily turn them over? the phone records? >> i'm not even sure i remember. i think i voluntarily turned them over. i voluntarily turned them over. >> all right, there's a difference then between a subpoena. let's go to benghazi. gregory hicks testified before the government oversight and reform committee that as a result of the appearance of susan wright on various talk shows that the f.b.i. -- the president of libya was offended and delayed the f.b.i.'s access to the consulate in benghazi by 17 days. did you think this would affect the ability to get to the bottom of what happened in benghazi? >> i'm satisfied with the progress we have made in the investigation regardless of
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what happened previously. we have made very, very, very substantial progress in that investigation. >> but not having access to an unsecured for 17 days, that's bound to have had a negative impact. >> it has not had an impact -- a negative impact on this investigation. >> all right, there was a story today that media matters issued , a defense of the justice department's use of the subpoenas for telephones. are y'all regularly consulting with media matters for spinning your p.r. stories? we talked about that last year. >> i'm not sure i know what you're talking about. >> all right. and then finally, i see i'm out of time. i don't want to break the rules. thank you very much. >> mr. chairman, mr. chairman, oh, yes, if could just place,
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because of what the attorney general said in the record, house republicans did not object to mediation, the attorney general, the government's position was that the judge did not have and still position, did not have the ability to adjudicate this dispute at all, and we said it was premature to talk about settlement as to the actual document request until she made a determination that she would and could decide. and that remains -- >> can we have regular order? we're short of time now. with all due respect to the distinguished chairman. >> i think that a case that affects the house and its ability to do its business needed to be properly fine. >> i think that is now part of the record, and both gentlemen's points are well taken. >> there was information that i just shared, perhaps i should not have. this was apparently something that the judge chaired -- well,
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all right. et me just stop there. the chair recognizes the gentleman from north carolina for five minutes. >> during my tenure in the united states attorney's office, i served with four attorneys general, including yourself. during the two years that our service overlapped, i always thought you were very supportive to our mission in north carolina and to the law enforcement community. i was somewhat surprised taking you back about 2 1/2 hours ago, you mentioned that you spoke to the chief district judges here in washington, and you gave a speech, and in your comments, you criticized the length of federal prison sentences that were being handed out in some instances, and although i don't and text of the speech, maybe you can provide that text if you care, did i see that in
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april you made similar results to the natural action network specifically stated that too many people go to too many prisons for far too long for no good enforcement reason, and that sentences too often bear no relation to the conduct at issue, disrespect for the system, and are ultimately counterproductive. candidly, i would expect to hear those remarks more from maybe the chief federal public defender rather than the chief federal law enforcement officer. for the thousands of cases that went through the eastern district of north carolina when i was there, i can think of none that got a prison sentence that was too long. if you could elaborate on which criminals you refer to that are getting too long of a prison sentence in the federal system. >> my responsibility is larger than simply being the chief prosecutor. as attorney general, not just
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me, but the office of the attorney general has a responsibility to the system, and the observations or the comments that i made in that national action network speech, i don't have a text. that was extemporaneous, it's what i feel. that if you look at particularly people who got sentenced to long prison sentences in drug cases that are more a function of the wait that was involved in a drug case as opposed to that person's role in the drug scheme. i think judge gleason is his name in new york. e's made the same observation. i think that these mandatory minimum sentences that we see, particularly in drugs, particular when will it comes to drugs, i think they're unnecessarily long and don't actually go to the purposes of sentencing. >> general holder, you know as well as i do that by the time a defendant ends up in federal
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court, necessity usually have been through the state process numerous times. >> well, that's not always the case. >> it's predominantly the case. they will have been through the state system numerous times. and i think particularly in ght of prosecuting felons in possession of a firearm, you know, the eastern district of north carolina in 2002, we prosecuted approximately 50 of those cases, ramped them up to 300 a year, and consistently did 300 a year. average prison sentences of approximately 10 years. these are cases which you can have large numbers, and significant impact not only on the prison sentences, but with a deterrent value as well. and i'm concerned that the department of twist, under this administration, has slacked off of making that a priority of
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prosecuting felons and possession of firearms. i'm concerned that the numbers are falling, and i know that the committee has asked to get 924 ic numbers of 92 , cases, and i don't understand why it's taking so long to give them, because unless you change the software in the last 20 months suspects i was aid sitting u.s. attorney, you know, you can have those statistics in a matter of minutes by calling them through the system. so are the numbers falling and will you please produce the numbers to the committee as soon as you can? >> we'll provide you with those numbers, but there's not been a policy decision to deemphasize those cause. i actually think when it comes to the use of mandatory minimums that felon in possession cases, that's actually a place where mandatory minimums are appropriate. >> prosecution priorities and the department of justice derev
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>> with regard to the gun cases? >> the priorities of prosecutions in the department of justice, are the u.s. attorneys putting those under review right now through the agac? >> yes. i have a working group working with the agac to look at our prosecution priorities, yes. >> and will you keep the committee apprised of what you determine that the priorities are to do with the department of justice? >> i'd be more than glad to have a dialogue with the committee in that regard. >> thank you. i yield back. >> thank you. we recognize the gentleman from georgia. >> thank you. this is the first time you and i have had a chance to talk. i have listened here, one of the advantages of being on the bottom row you is get to hear everybody else ask questions and also hear your answers. i think your answers today to me have been enlightening and very discouraging. and i think some of it is you have said on several times, and i'll go back to some of your statements today, you made a
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quote when you were quoting president obama, talking about big government is over. i think the problem that i have here is i agree with you. good government should be a limited form of government. what i think we've seen over the past week or so have shook the foundations of discussing this issue. well, we understand this, especial until your agency right now, we look at this you have said on a couple of occasions, you may have said it more if did you. you start about the role of the executive. that's the role of the executive. that's what we're supposed to be doing. is that a fair statement several times today? >> i think i was saying it in reference to -- who is deciding matters -- >> i understand. but the role of executive? but there's a role for congress, right? >> absolutely. >> because this committee has oversight over your department, correct? >> i did not show up here because i really wanted to. >> well, that has been -- and that has been painfully obvious in some of the way you answer some of the questions. the problem is that's the
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checks and balances. you come here, you answer questions, and we are of the constitutional oversight to have oversight, but share control and oversight of what goes on and ask these questions, and these are not asking questions from up here, at least from my comment, the people of north georgia and the ninth district, many times they just want the truth, and they're frustrations they don't get the truth and they keep hearing other issues that come up on threatening to them and the various sanctity of what they believe, whether it be the i.r.s. or the issues with the reporters or a litany of issues we've talked about today. the question that i have is, this being the committee in which the oversight that you come to, and this will be maybe the first and probably not the only time we'll talk in this capacity, is it concerns me the lack of preparation or at least perceived lack of preparation which you come here today. and there was a statement about did you put it in writing, and we've had this discussion about yourec
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your answer was, i don't think i put it in writing, i'm not sure. did you not think those questions were going to be asked of you today? when you recused yourself from this, did you just honestly think those would not be asked today? >> i didn't think about whether or not you were going to ask me that question one way or the other -- >> you're kidding me. you come to this committee today with these issues like they are right now -- >> let me finish, congressman. >> no -- >> what i was going say -- >> i asked -- >> mr. chairman, mr. chairman, can you state your ruling again on who controls the time? time is controlled by the gentleman from georgia. >> he can have extra time. let me just answer the question. >> mr. attorney general, you don't control the time here. >> i'm willing to give -- >> but me question is this. as i come back to this -- >> mr. chairman, could the witness have a chance -- the witness will have a full opportunity to respond, but the gentleman from georgia has the opportunity to ask his
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question. >> mr. chairman, just to make a point, the attorney general stayed here extra time to make sure that everyone had a chance to ask their questions. considering the fact that he's still here past his time, why can't he answer the question that's posed to him? >> he will get an opportunity to answer the question just as soon as mr. collins finishes posing his question, and we'll give him extra time after the time is expired, just as we have done for the attorney general on several occasions. >> may i just a moment? i would appreciate it -- i know hat some of us have deep bass-like voices that sound like we're not being happy, but i would appreciate a little civility in the questioning of the attorney general as we proceed to the conclusion. i yield back. >> the gentleman from georgia may proceed. >> i thank you. i just have a simple question. it was amazing to me that the question was, did you not think that you would be asked about maybe the timeline on when you might have recused yourself? you also said at one point you
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recused yourself -- there was some question even in your own dialogue about when you actually did this. so i'm just asking a simple question, and as the others on the other side, they've got to ask their questions, i'm now asking mine. did you not think that someone on this panel would have asked you those questions? >> i did not know whether anybody would ask me of that rip. but irrespective of that, i thought that was an important fact and was one of the reasons why i asked my staff to found out, irrespective of what was going to happen today, whether or not there was in writing a recusal. i asked that question myself, thinking that it was an important question. i did not know -- i don't know what you all are going ask me, so that's why i was saying i didn't know whether or not you were going to ask the question, but i thought it was an important one and one that i put to my staff. >> i do have one question on that regard. have you recused yourself in using the recusal, have you put that in writing before? >> i'm not sure about that. in mr. holding's case, i recused myself in that matter.
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i recused myself in other cases because my former law firm was involved in those case. i'm not sure those are in writing, but i do think, as has been raised -- putting these things in writing might be the better practice. >> mr. attorney general, i appreciate your answers. and this is an issue -- it's just amazing, again -- >> mr. chairman, point of order. is that let red right there? >> the gentleman's time was interrupted considerably by debate over whether or not he was entitled to answer thinks question, so i can complete this answer. >> and i did not interrupt the gentleman from louisiana, so i appreciate the opportunity to close and this opportunity to close. i appreciate your answers. we're going to ask more of these questions and these are the roles we play. and with that, i yield back. >> that's fine. look, i respect the oversight role that congress plays. this isn't always a pleasant experience. it's one that i recognize that
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you go through as an executive branch officer. the one thing i try to do is always be respectful of the people who have asked me questions. i don't, frankly, i've always been treated with a great deal of respect, and if you don't like me, that's one thing. but i am the attorney general of the united states, and i'm not -- this is the first time and you i have met, so i'm certainly not referring to you or any of the questions you just asked, but i think that is something that, you know, is emblematic of the problem that we have in washington nowadays. there's almost a toxic partisan atmosphere here where basic levels of civility simply don't exist. we can have really serious partisan fights, disagreements about a whole variety of things, but i think people should have the ability, especially in this context, to treat one another with respect. i've tried to do that. maybe i've not always been successful, but i certainly know that i have not been treated in that way all the time. >> the time the gentleman has
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expired. the chair recognized the gentleman from florida for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. reply attorney general, i'm going to talk about credibility and account ability, because i think this is something underneath these issues. as i understand this your your testify, by your own admission, this is one of the most serious leak cases in the past 40 years. your comments yesterday, you said it put the american people at risk. and yet, as you testified today, you don't know when you recused yourself. you have no record of you recusing yourself. and you didn't tell the white house that you recused yourself. that bothers me, because in that explanation, one, it's insufficient, and two, it ince late you and the president from any accountability about what happened. so is this really the best you can do in terms of explaining what you did for one of the most serious cases that you've ever seen in your professional life? >> that's what i said. with regard to the question of
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how recusals are memorialized, i think writing a written response would make great sense. but the notion that i would share it with the white house, information about an ongoing criminal investigation is simply not something that i as attorney general, unless there's some kind of national security, serious national security -- >> which there was by your own admission, put the american people at risk, correct? >> but we are talking about a limited group of people who had access to this information, some of whom were in the white house. so the notion that i would share that information with the white house, i did not share this information with people in the justice department. >> the people on the justice department, with all due respect, are not responsible for protecting the american people. the president is. so we za disagreement on that. >> we are responsible for protecting the american people. >> but the buck stops with the president in terms of serious risk to the american people, i understand they have duties, they're important duties, but ultimately the president is who we rely on. now, in terms of with this
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internal revenue service issue, do you agree -- i mean, you're the head lawyer in the entire country, and you have due respect for your office, do you acknowledge the i.r.s. is a part of the treasury department and is accountable to the president and that it is not an independent agency? >> technically, i don't know -- i've heard that it's an independent agency. there is some kind of reporting responsibility trn relinquish treasury. exactly how that is defined, i don't know. >> you've been in law for years. you're accomplished, and you don't know whether the i.r.s. is a part of treasury, whether the i.r.s. commissioner is responsible to the president, or whether it is considered an independent agency. you really don't know the difference between those? >> i dent say that. the i.r.s., as i understand it, is a part of the treasury department. the i.r.s. commissioner is independent, but is appointed by the president to a fixed term -- >> and can be removed at the will of a president, correct,
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per federal statutes? >> all executive branch employees can be -- >> ok, so then it's not an independent agency, right? can we just understand what it is? >> i'm not sure where you're going with this question. if you're trying to put what the irdirs into the white house, that's not going work. >> no, is it an understand pent agency, yes or no? >> it is an independent agency that operates within the executive branch. >> well, then that's -- that's completely begging the question. the press secretary has said it's an independent agency that it's outside the purview of the executive branch. my point, is yeah, maybe the president is not micromanaging every decision, but the i.r.s. commissioner is accountable to the president, and the president can remove that individual. if the agency was truly independent, then the president would not have that authority to remove that individual. and sonk we need to be clear when we're making statements, and you have made the statement for today, but the white house press secretary and the secretary did, and i don't think it was accurate. one more thing. >> i'm sorry, go ahead.
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>> with benghazi terrorists, nobody has really been brought to justice for this, but i know the f.b.i. was over there investigating. at this point in time, is this your purview to bring those people to justice or is it a military issue? who's in charge of exacting justice for the terrorists who killed four americans? >> it is the responsibility of the -- it's my responsibility. ultimately, i think it's my responsibility. i mean, it's now, what, seven minutes after 5:00 on whatever today's date is. as of this date, this time, i am confident and proud of the work that we have done in determining who was responsible for the killings in benghazi. >> but there's not been any action taken to bring them to justice? >> none that i can talk about right now. >> ok, very well. thank you, mr. attorney general. i yield back the balance of my time. >> let me just say, in response to -- to add to that does
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not mean that definitive, con coat actions have not been taken. that should not be read that way. we have been aggressive. we have moved as quickly as we can, and we are in a good position with regard to that investigation. >> five seconds to follow up, mr. chairman? >> time of the gentleman has expired. >> that's ok. >> the attorney general is going to give you five seconds. >> can you say whether the concrete action -- >> you have to call me mr. chairman. >> can you say whether the concrete action is law enforcement based or in military based? >> i can say that within the purview of the things that we do in the justice department, definitive action has been taken. >> now the time of the gentleman has expired and the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas for her unanimous consent request. >> mr. chairman, thank you for
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your court sifment i'm glad we're ending on a smiling note. i have three documents. my first document is -- this is he title, aag perez restores integrity to the voting section. they confirm hiring has returned under a.a.g. tom perez. i ask unanimous consent to put that in the record. >> without objection. >> we haven't seen these documents. can the gentlelady make the documents available? app i certainly will. the second document is loving all our neighbors, even our muslim ones, the title is don't be so lazy to assume that the words of a group represent the entire group. they hardly ever do. perhaps a better idea is to meet them, learn about them, and treat them as your neighbors. this is in "usa today," and the ate is april 23, 2013. i ask unanimous consent to place in the record. >> without objection. sandaup i'm asking to place in the record a statement on
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medicare prosecutions as it relates to minority hospitals in separating out moneys that are not tainted by the investigation to allow those hospitals to treat i understand gent minority patients. ask unanimous consent. >> without objection. that will be made a part of the record. >> i thank the gentleman for his courtesies, and i'm smiling. thank you very much. >> the gentleman from california had reserved the right to object to the first request, so we're awaiting the gentleman's question of whether he's exercising his right to object. >> yeah, this is not public information, i have no problem with the other two. >> the gentleman exercises his right to object -- >> can i have an inquiry further for the individual? what is he indicating that is not public information? the o.i.g. report, as i
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understand it, is a public document. app yes. and certainly if you want to put actual portions of the o.i.g. report in, that's fine. the record of accomplishments, which is the second page here, you know, as the gentlelady would understand, if the gentlelady wants to put in things about how great thomas perez, is we're perfectly willing to say yes, and if the gentleman doesn't mind my putting in the entire report on his quid pro quo, his false statement made to congress, and the other companion information which is the fruit of committee work. is that a unanimous consent? >> it is. without objection, the gentlewoman's unanimous consent request will be granted, and without objection the gentleman from california -- >> and may i -- excuse me, mr. chairman. the general was generous to say, and i thank the gentleman for his courtesies. he's generous to say we had a report, wf a report, and we would ask unanimous cannot for that report to be submitted.
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>> without objection, the jenltswoman from texas' report will be made a part of the record. >> and the record that says that the gentleman from california -- >> we've already covered that one. >> the gentleman has indicated an expanded report, because he's putting in another report. >> we're not putting in reports that don't exist. >> no, this one does exist. >> and we've covered it. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> attorney general holder, we thank you for the amount of time, as was noted by the gentleman from louisiana. you spent more time than was requested. as you know, there's a lot of questions that members have, and a lot of members are not satisfied with all the answers. a number of questions are being submitted to you in writing. there are questions existing from previous correspondence that we would ask that you answer. and nothing would do more to show the respect that you refer to for this committee than for you to answer those questions,
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and as attorney general of the united states, i think it would reflect well on the respect that the attorney general of the united states is entitled to, so to see those questions answered as a part of the separation of powers, operation of checks and balances that exist in the oversight responsibility of this committee. i thank you again. >> that's a fair point, mr. chairman. fair point. >> without objection, all members will have five legislative days to submit additional questions for the witness or additional materials for the record. if we don't have enough already. this hearing is adjourned. >> on c-span today, "washington journal" is next, live with your phone calls. then live coverage of the u.s. house, after more than business, members will deabt a bill that would repeal the 2010 healthcare law. and at about 45 minutes, it's the congresswoman from california talking about the oversight of the justice department, followed by of ressman it will cole
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oklahoma. and a look at the untax and had unregulated underground economy with a finance professor. >> i will look at the request and i have not been personally ball but i will try to be as responsive as we can. i'm sure there must have been a good reason why the two parts were -- >> as, you did not want us to see the details. >> no - i'm not going to stop talking now. mr. >> chairman, would you inform the witness as to the rules of the committee? >> it is too consistent in the way you conduct yourself as a member of the congress. it is shameful. ♪ > host: was an exchange between